MAX VERSTAPPEN enjoys a commanding lead in the world championship as the F1 season reaches its halfway stage.
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Max Verstappen is ahead of Charles Leclerc by a staggering 38 points despite Ferrari winning the last two Grand Prix. Mercedes may be out of the title fight but the Silver Arrows and in particular Lewis Hamilton have enjoyed a resurgence in recent races which makes for an exciting sub-plot for the second half of the campaign.
Express Sport rates the drivers so far in 2022.
Lewis Hamilton – 7
Before the Canadian Grand Prix, Russell had outscored his seven-time champion teammate seven times in eight races to enjoy a 37-point advantage. At that stage, it looked as if Hamilton could be annihilated by his rookie teammate as question marks continued to be raised over his motivation for F1.
The low point came in Spain where Hamilton demanded engineers retire the car on lap one after an incident. But the pendulum has started to swing back to Hamilton having secured three back-to-back podiums and he almost looks back to his best.
George Russell – 8
No one was expecting George Russell to beat Hamilton from the outset but the former Williams star has proved to be formidable in the Mercedes. Russell has already picked up three podiums this season despite the German manufacturers’ troubles and is ahead of Hamilton in the standings.
However, a tyre gamble in Canada backfired and contact with Sergio Perez in Austria may have denied him two more podiums and a chance to extend his Mercedes advantage.
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Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen’s 2022 efforts have been rated (Image: Getty)
Max Verstappen – 10
Max Verstappen has been faultless after a commanding start to the 2022 season. The Dutchman has clinched six wins from eleven races and has luck to blame for missing out on at least podiums in the others.
Two mechanical failures denied him almost guaranteed second-placed finishes in Bahrain and Australia. Meanwhile, red flags in qualifying at Monaco stopped him from having a shot at pole, while the reigning champion looked set to win at Silverstone before debris damaged his floor.
Charles Leclerc – 9
Charles Leclerc has had the racecraft and patience to take on Max Verstappen on-track. But his championship charge has also been let down by matters outside his control after mechanical woes denied him in Spain and Azerbaijan.
However, the Monegasque has made a couple of his own mistakes this year, most notably spinning out of a podium place in Imola.
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Charles Leclerc has been plagued by mechanical failures all season (Image: Getty)
Carlos Sainz – 6
Sainz picked up the first win of his career at the British Grand Prix to move just nine points behind Lecerc in the stainings. However, unlike Leclerc, Sainz has made a string of errors which have put his championship hopes on the rocks.
The Spaniard lost control during Imola qualifying, crashed at the start in Australia and suffered accidents in Miami and Monaco. Although out of his control, the mechanical failure in Austria could be enough for Ferrari to start concentrating efforts on Leclerc for a title push.
Lando Norris – 8
The Briton has achieved all he can with an under-performing car in 2022, picking up one podium and consistently scoring points.
Daniel Ricciardo – 2
Ricciardo has only scored points at four races this season as the Australian’s troubles continue.
His F1 future is under threat with McLaren boss Zak Brown openly claiming the team was”not where we want to be” with the former Red Bull star.
Sebastian Vettel could be on the verge of quitting F1 (Image: Getty)
Fernando Alonso – 9
The Spaniard has proven he still has the potential to challenge at the front if he was ever given the right car, putting the Alpine on the front row in challenging conditions in Canada.
Esteban Ocon – 8
Ocon has had no standout moments this season but has consistently got the better of his teammate. The Frenchman has outscored Alonso eight times from 11 races this season.
Valtteri Bottas – 8
Bottas started the season in fine form with two top-six finishes in the first four races. The Finn has since consistently scored points with his Alfa Romeo but has begun to tail off slightly in recent races.
He has picked up just eight points from the last five GP’s, despite securing 30 from the first five races of the campaign.
Zhou Guanyu – 5
Zhou has consistently been beaten by Bottas this season and has picked up just two points finishes this season. However, the Chinese star is still in his debut year in F1 so he will be judged more on his efforts in the second half of the season.
Mick Schumacher – 6
The young German has appeared closer to the pace in the last few races and has scored two back-to-back points finishes. But, he was involved in two horror accidents in Saudi Arabia and Monaco which raised the eyebrows of team boss Guenther Steiner.
Kevin Magnussen – 7
The Dane hit the ground running after replacing Nikita Mazepin with barely any pre-season testing. He scored in the last two races but prior to that he was on a run of five races without a point.
Pierre Gasly – 5
The Frenchman has been one of the stand-out talents on the grid since being dropped from Red Bull in 2019. However, his ability to do more than the car’s potential has fired up this season and he has more often than not found himself outside the top-10.
Yuki Tsunoda – 4
The Japanese star has also struggled at AlphaTauri in his second season with the team, failing to score any points in his last five races.
Fernando Alonso secured a front row start in Canada (Image: Getty)
Sebastian Vettel – 4
Apart from a good performance in Azerbaijan, Vettel and Aston Martin have underperformed this season. The German is clearly having doubts over his F1 future and could call it quits this summer.
Lance Stroll – 3
The Canadian has been unable to beat a demotivated Vettel and has picked up just three tenth-placed finishes all season.
Alex Albon – 7
The Thai driver has consistently beaten his team-mate this season and even picked up a handful of points in a struggling Williams.
Nicholas Latifi – 2
Latifi has suffered several accidents this season as his poor run continues. He crashed out twice in the same race weekend in Saudi Arabia and then wrote the car off at the next race in Australia.
He is likely to be replaced for next season with Williams said to be looking at other options.